One Saturday morning, I took my daughter who’s almost 7 years old for a casual walk. After about 50 meters, she said she was tired and her legs ached. I was surprised at first and called her “lazy”, but it also dawned on me that I haven’t been doing the right thing for my children.
Most of us are cultivating the habit of living healthy lifestyles now because we were not well equipped with such knowledge when we were young.
If we do not teach our children the benefits of exercising and the importance of making healthy food choices at their age, they’ll grow up depending on burgers, sodas and all kinds of junk foods. When they get to our age, they’ll suddenly wake up to reality like we did and start running “crash” weight loss and healthy lifestyle programs. It becomes a vicious circle.
In recent times, I see lots of pre-teens and teens who are obviously heading towards becoming obese and such children have parents who are fitness freaks. Parents who are loading their systems with vegetables, fruits, water and workout routines and are feeding their children with “fast” foods?
I understand most of us enjoying working out “solo” with eyes on our goals, not wanting to be distracted in anyway, but our children should not be completely left out of our programs. You should create room for them to exercise with you, no matter how little and as you’re prolonging your life, you’re also prolonging theirs. That’s how to kill 2 birds with one stone.
A new research from the University of Granada (UGR) have proven, for the first time in history, that physical fitness in children may affect their brain structure, which in turn may have an influence on their academic performance.
This study which has been published in the Neuroimage journal and is part of the ActiveBrains project, clearly confirmed that physical fitness in children (especially aerobic capacity and motor ability) is associated with a greater volume of gray matter in several cortical and subcortical brain regions.
The study led by Francisco B. Ortega, was a randomised clinical trial involving more than 100 overweight/obese children. According to Ortega, the project is being carried out mainly at the University of Granada’s Sport and Health Institute (IMUDS, from its abbreviation in Spanish) and the Mind, Brain and Behavior Research Center.
“Our work aims at answering questions such as whether the brain of children with better physical fitness is different from that of children with worse physical fitness and if this affects their academic performance,” Ortega explains.
“The answer is short and forceful: yes, physical fitness in children is linked in a direct way to important brain structure differences, and such differences are reflected in the children’s academic performance,” Says Ortega.